Tuesday , 17 July 2018
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Apple gave Uber explicit permission to record iPhone screens, says researcher

CRAPSI CAB company Uber has the power to secretly record iPhone users screens, according to new research.

Now, we’re not saying it has or it will, but it can, as part of a drive (arf) to extend the functionality between the iPhone and Apple Watch which has seen the Uber app given extensive permissions to do things that you won’t be expecting, even while other apps are in the foreground.

According to Gizmodo, the “feature” was discovered by Sudo Security Group who said that such a permission, known as “entitlement” – a word that describes Uber very well generally – must have been explicitly granted by Apple at OEM level.

Will Strafach, researcher, and CEO of Sudo said that the permission, used to improve memory management for watch users, was a one of a kind grant, thus far.

“It looks like no other third-party developer has been able to get Apple to grant them a private sensitive entitlement of this nature,” Strafach said. “Considering Uber’s past privacy issues I am very curious how they convinced Apple to allow this.”

Despite the likes of Greyball and other rather dubiously purposed apps, such as “Hell”, designed to track Uber drivers moonlighting for rivals, there’s no suggestion that Uber is using this technology for nefarious purposes. After all, if you can capture a screen, it doesn’t take much to capture a password.

But the point is, mud sticks and Uber has more mud sticking to it right now than Choeropsis liberiensis in a slurry silo.

The finger pointing really needs to be aimed towards Apple – why on earth would they give a company like Uber this much power?

Newer versions of the app have had this power voluntarily removed, with Uber explaining: “Apple gave us this permission years because Apple Watch couldn’t handle our maps rendering. It’s not connected to anything in our current codebase,”

Given the speed with which Uber got its app out after the Apple Watch launch, the decision may have been part of a strategy that would get its launch partners up and running as quickly as possible, at any cost.

Again, to repeat, there is no evidence they did any of these dodgy things. But there is a lot of damning evidence that they could, at a time when most people agree, they probably would

Uber is continuing negotiations with TfL after losing its licence to operate in London, after the company found it wanting in many areas, app use included. µ

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